Tag Archives: muffins

Winter Weekend Coffee Share.

Welcome to Another Weekend Coffee Share!

Today, I can actually offer you your choice of tea or coffee along with an almost healthy Strawberry & Macadamia Nut Muffin. Although  I really loved them straight out of the oven last night, they were still scrummy cold this morning with juicy chunks of strawberry complimenting crunchy macadamia nuts perfectly.

It’s Winter here in Australia.At least, that’s the official line.As far as winters go, even for us, it’s been pretty mild now that last weekend’s storm’s been and gone.

Winter in Australia

This week, I posted a rather funny cartoon about 20°C  in Brisbane (Winter) versus 20°C in London (Summer) . The funny thing was, that I just compared Sydney and London’s weather reports today and you wouldn’t believe it. They’re the same…16-20°C!

Not that I’m bragging. I don’t control the weather and I didn’t choose to be born here but I’m not complaining.

At least, not this weekend!

That said, we’ve had a few strange things going on in the last week.

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Our beach track was wiped out in the storm and transformed into a cliff.

I’ve already mentioned last weekend’s dreadful storms which hit the Australian East Coast.

On Tuesday, we had a 4.0 magnitude earthquake 100 km of the coast from here. Well, you might ask if I noticed because I didn’t feel a thing. Indeed, I only found out about it while following up the Sydney Storm online.

Tuesday, must have been a busy day for exceptional events around here because a Great White Shark was photographed leaping out of the waves while a guy was filming his mate surf…”Good Morning, Jaws!” This was an hour’s drive up the road from here and we live in a beachside community where we’ve seen local fisherpeople catch juvenile Bronze Whaler Sharks but although we know the Great Whites seemingly swim passed here to attack surfers on the NSW North Coast, we like to think they’re further out to sea and chomping on something else along the way.

It’s funny about us Australians because half the time we’re beefing up the dangers of our wildlife to terrify the tourists, and yet denial also seems to be a national sport. Sharks? What sharks?

Not all of our stories about our dangerous wildlife are made up. On a more serious note, last Sunday tourist Cindy Waldron was taken by a croc while swimming in the Daintree, near Cairns. On the very same day on the other side of the country, diver Doreen Ann Collyer was killed by a giant Great White Shark while diving about 1km off Mindarie beach in Perth.

So, while we might jest about the dangers, they also need to be taken seriously!

However, things have been relatively uneventful here.

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Our daughter drawing a unicorn in the sand when her friend visited.

It’s looking like I didn’t get the job at my daughter’s school. I’m fine about that but am putting more thought into setting some goals and objectives, while getting things more organised at home. I feel like I’ve finally moved forward from the chemo two years ago and that my health is stable and I am okay. That’s a huge leap forward, although it still feels very tentative at times and sometimes, it feels absolutely terrifying and like I’m about to combust or something. Strangely, the big stuff doesn’t worry me too much but things usually related to my poor spatial skills like parking the car somewhere unfamiliar. Chemo? No worries mate.

Just call me “odd”. You won’t be the first and you won’t be the last.

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Anyway, I bought myself a book, which offered great promise this week: Shannah Kennedy’s: The Life Plan. I found it at a stationery and organisation shop called Kikki K, which says:

“Do you want to live with purpose and achieve your life goals? In The Life Plan, leading life coach Shannah Kennedy sets out a step-by-step strategy to help you identify your true purpose and values, declutter and find clarity, improve your time management, and create tools to help you stay focused.”

By the way, all these thoughts about getting organised at home just received another setback. We just visited a local 2nd hand book sale and returned home with two more boxes of books. I wonder if you can store books in the fridge…Then again, I don’t think there’s any room in there either. We’ll just have to read them fast!

So, how has your week been? I hope it’s been good and look forward to catching up!

Thanks for popping by! This has been part of the Weekend Coffee Share hosted by Diana at Part-Time Monster. You can click  for the linky to read the other posts.

xx Rowena

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Good night…Night Lights, Ettalong Beach, NSW.

Strawberry & Macadamia Nut Muffins

Tonight, I converted a healthy punnet of fresh strawberries into scrumptious Strawberry and Macadamia Muffins with dubious nutritional worth.

Not so long ago, I could well have called these “Healthy” without a second thought. No guilt whatsoever… just like banana cake.

However, thanks to the wowsers, “healthy” has now been redefined. No matter how well you disguise it, anything with refined sugar is now evil! This means, of course, that even though my muffins are overflowing with fresh strawberries and macadamia nuts, they’re now “from the wrong side of the tracks”.

Just like me!

I’m usually not just adding evil sugar to my recipes, but also that evil of evils…chocolate!

Indeed, I was sorely tempted to add white or dark chocolate chips to these muffins but resisted.I wanted the strawberries to be the hero. I didn’t want to sacrifice their flavour to the chocolate and see how the muffins went without it.

We didn’t miss the chocolate. We ate our muffins hot straight out of the oven. With their lush strawberry flavour and macadamia nut crunch, they were scrumptious.

These muffins would make a delicious treat with a refreshing cup of tea, with enough goodness to escape being what I’d call an “indulgence” and you don’t have to feel too guilty after all.

strawberries

 

After all, strawberries are packed full of goodness. They’re an excellent source of antioxidant-promoting vitamin C and manganese. They are also a very good source of dietary fiber, iodine, and folate. Plus, strawberries are a good source of copper, potassium, biotin, phosphorus, magnesium, vitamin B6, and omega-3 fatty acids.

All that goodness tells me, it’s time to go and grab seconds before I miss out!

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Strawberries, Macadamias and Sugar…Yum!

Strawberry & Macadamia Nut Muffins

Ingredients

  • 180 ml (3/4 cup) milk
  • 80 grams butter, melted (1/3 cup or 5 1/3 Tbsp.)
  • 1 large egg
  • 475 grams sifted flour (2 cups)
  • 160 grams caster sugar (2/3 cup)
  • 2 teas baking powder
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 punnet fresh strawberries
  • 120 grams chopped macadamia nuts
  • Extra castor sugar & chopped macadamia nuts for topping.

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 180 °C (400°F)
  2. Grease the bottoms only of 12 standard-size muffin cups, or line with paper wrappers; set aside.
  3. Finely chop all but 3 of the strawberries and put aside.
  4. Finely chop roasted Macadamia nuts.
  5. Melt butter in the microwave on high for around a minute.
  6. In a large bowl, beat together the milk, melted butter, and egg.
  7. Stir in the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt just until combined; do not overmix.
  8. Gently fold in the strawberries and macadamia nuts.
  9. Hull and slice through strawberries and place a slice on top of each muffin.
  10. Roughly chop Macadamia nuts and sprinkle around the slice of strawberry.
  11. Sprinkle the top of each muffin finely with castor sugar.
  12. Spoon batter into the prepared tins; sprinkle with sugar, if desired.
  13. Bake for 20-22 minutes, or until golden and puffed.
  14. Immediately invert onto wire racks.
  15. Serve warm or cool.

Enjoy with Love!

xx Rowena

My Dysfunctional Orange Cake

You wouldn’t think that such a sweet, innocent-looking cupcake could cause so much trouble but it did!

A few weeks ago, the kids’ Cub Scout camp was called off and I was given a bag of oranges and I started having grandiose visions of Duck a l’orange which soon got knocked down to size and tonight I found myself baking a Quick-Mix Orange Cake from one of my Australian Women’s Weekly cookbooks. This is a very simple recipe. You just throw all the ingredients into the mix master at once and switch it on. Simple Simon. A cake so easy, the kids could make it without any intervention from me. That is, aside from grating the orange peel. When it comes to the kids, grating is a vicious activity which usually draws blood.

Anyway, being the very competent and capable multitasking sod that I’m not, I decided to make the orange cake while I was cooking dinner. While this might have been good time management or at least appeared that way ahead of time, I really struggle to do two things at once and added to the challenge, I was mentally doubling the mix and some of the maths can get a bit complicated. I was having trouble measuring out the butter…adding, subtracting. I had multiple packets of butter needed to double the amount. Tricky! I must have been tired.

What a waste of good mixture...Attack of the Killer Orange Cake Mix.

What a waste of good mixture…Attack of the Killer Orange Cake Mix.

Anyway, while I was attending to the gourmet pork and leek sausages or perhaps I was boiling the potatoes when a glob of mixture hit me in the forehead. I’d only turned my back on the mix master for a few instants and for some bizarre reason a only happened once in the history of all my baking event took place. The mixture had spiraled up the side of the bowl drawn by centrifugal force and kept spinning all over the kitchen bench, splattering across the microwave, all over the kitchen bench and even jumped across time and space to splatter down the tablecloth half a metre away. My Quick-Mix Cake had become some kind of feral bomb required extensive cleaning up and I mean extensive! I bet this never happened in the Australian Women’s Weekly Test Kitchen. Their recipes are triple-tested but they’ve never had to stand up to the likes of me before. I unwittingly manage to achieve the impossible.

I've heard about spreading your love around but this is taking things too far!

I’ve heard about spreading your love around but this is taking things too far!

I don’t need to tell you that it wasn’t all disappointment. Lady, our much beloved little black dog, appeared out of nowhere to assist with the clean-up. Now, I’ll have to clean-up after the cake and the cleaning squad. As much as I love the dogs, dog germs are another story.

Nothing was sacred. Even our dog Lady was splattered with cake mix frustratingly in places she couldn't lick it off. She also helped clean the table cloth. Hmm...that was taking her assistance too far. No for the disinfectant. We love our dogs but there are some limits!

Nothing was sacred. Even our dog Lady was splattered with cake mix frustratingly in places she couldn’t lick it off. She also helped clean the table cloth. Hmm…that was taking her assistance too far. No for the disinfectant. We love our dogs but there are some limits!

Even though this experience might not be the best endorsement for this recipe but it did taste great. I suspect I just mucked something up when I doubled the ingredients. This is the double-mix.

Enjoy!

xx Rowena

Quick-Mix Choc Orange Cupcakes – Based on The Australian Women’s Weekly

310g butter (250g packet + 60g)

4 teas finely grated orange rind (approx. 4 oranges)

11/3 cups castor sugar

6 eggs

2 cups Self Raising Flour

1/2 cup milk

Directions

1) Take butter out of the fridge about 30 minutes beforehand.

2) Take a 12 hole muffin tin and line it with muffin cases.

3) Turn oven on to moderately high around 180 degrees celsius.

4) Finely grate the rind of about 4 oranges. Be careful not to grate the yellow pith underneath as this is sour.

5) Sift flour.

6) Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl.

7) Turn your electric mix master onto low speed and mix until all the ingredients are combined. You don’t want to turn the speed up too fast too soon especially if the butter is still firm or your baking efforts will turn into a flying circus.

8) Increase the speed to medium and beat for about 3 minutes or until the mixture has changed colour and is nice and smooth.

9) Using a dessertspoon, dollop mixture into the muffin cases until they are about 3/4 full.

10) If you are not wanting to ice them, you can sprinkle chopped macadamia nuts over the top or some coconut.

11) Bake the muffins for about 15 minutes or until a skewer comes out clear.

12) Enjoy!

Chocolate Orange Icing

I decided to make chocolate icing as a special treat for the kids and added a few squeezes of orange juice. I hope they like it. You could well ask how I could go wrong with chocolate but you don’t know my kids!

90g milk or dark chocolate depending on your preference.

30g butter

1 cup of sifted icing sugar

a few squeezes of orange juice

a little hot water

Directions:

Making this icing is not a precise science.

1) Place the chocolate in a medium sized bowl and melt in the microwave for about a minute. My butter was so soft that it didn’t need to be melted but it can be melted in with the chocolate.

2) Sift icing sugar into the chocolate mix. Stir well making sure there aren’t any lumps. If it goes lumpy, smooth it was your hand mixer.

3) Add a few squeezes of orange juice. You can also do this while stirring in the icing sugar if the mix is too dry.

4) Add sufficient hot water to give the icing a firm, spreading consistency. You want it to stay put on top of the muffin without dribbling down the side.

That mixture spread like a shrapnel blast.

That mixture spread like a shrapnel blast.